Tomer Bar picked as next head of the Israeli Air Force

In coming months, Bar will replace Amikam Norkin, who’s served in the role since 2017; four other promotions announced for the IDF General Staff

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Maj. Gen. Tomer Bar at a ceremony at the Rabin military base, on June 20, 2020. (Israel Defense Forces)
Maj. Gen. Tomer Bar at a ceremony at the Rabin military base, on June 20, 2020. (Israel Defense Forces)

Maj. Gen. Tomer Bar will take over as head of the Israeli Air Force from Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin, the Israel Defense Forces announced on Monday.

Bar, 52, currently leads the military’s Force Design Directorate, a rejiggered version of what was once the Planning Directorate, which is tasked with overseeing the development of new combat and weapons techniques.

Bar beat out Maj. Gen. Tal Kelman, who leads the military’s fight against Iran, for the role. Norkin has led the air force since 2017. The IDF said that Bar would enter the role sometime in the next few months.

Bar was nominated for the position by IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi and his promotion was approved by Defense Minister Benny Gantz.

In addition to the highly influential position of air force chief, the military on Monday announced four other promotions to the IDF General Staff.

Maj. Gen. Yaakov Banjo, who currently commands the military’s Northern Corps — a detachment that only comes into being during wartime — will take over from Bar as head of the Force Design Directorate.

Brig. Gen. Michel Yanko, who currently serves as chief of staff of the Manpower Directorate, will take over as head of the Technology and Logistics Directorate, succeeding Maj. Gen. Yitzhak Turgeman. Yanko will be promoted to the rank of major general for the position.

Brig. Gen. Eran Niv will also be promoted to major general in order to take over from Maj. Gen. Lior Carmeli as head of the IDF’s computer- and communications-focused C4I and Cyber Defense Directorate.

Brig. Gen. Sa’ar Tzur, who currently commands the 162nd Armored Division, will take over from Banjo as head of the IDF’s Northern Corps and as head of the Ground Forces’ ground maneuvers division.

They too will enter their positions in the coming months, the military said.

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